The first time ever for this three and a quarter mile chase that will certainly test the stamina of some if the entries if the going remains as soft as is currently predicted. Trainer Iain Jardine heads the trainer stats list here with 25% strike rate in the last two weeks and he has Double Whammy (16/1) in here, a decent enough stayer who looks as if he has been targeted at this race. Now a veteran at the age of eleven, he has only had the one run all season when fifth to Silver Tassie at Ayr earlier this month. He was well beaten that day by forty lengths after being held up in last place and staying there, but seems likely to have needed his first run in eleven months and surely has to do better than that now with that run under his belt.
Micky Hammond is one of racing’s great characters and he will be hoping Silver Tassie (5/1) can confirm the form he showed when winning last time out at Ayr when beating Courtown Oscar six lengths at the line. He wasn’t even given a hard time to win that day and although put up six pounds for that he still has a lively chance if he can do as well at this track. After his last win his owner said “In truth the best we hoped for today was a place for Silver Tassie. But he clearly likes this track as he was second in this race last year and was going well and unseating another time when he was here…..” and if they think he can repeat that effort here then he ought to go mighty close to following up and seems to have the best chance of success today in this field.
Seldom Inn (3/1) is another who deserves a positive mention having won here over a fraction short of three miles last time out on heavy going when beating Tenor Nivernais by twenty six lengths at the beginning of this month. The runner up is a useful yardstick making the form look all the better and although he has been put up ten pounds he is another who could go well though his chance would have improved even further with a longer gap between races.
Yalta Enki |(5/1) is a likeable gelding trained by Venetia Williams and he has already won three races over fences and the same number over hurdles. Last time out he finished an acceptable fourth to Definitly Red in the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster when a couple of jumping errors hardly helped his chances, but this does look a little bit less competitive and a better run is very much a possibility.
To end with we have the Nicky Richards trained Baywing (9/2), now an eight-year-old but with more room to improve further than most of this field. He also won last time out, this time at Wetherby over three miles in February, but he has missed a few races lately and if they let him take his chances this afternoon it may be worth taking the hint, even if he has been put up an eye watering fifteen pounds for that twenty-two length victory over the useful Calett Mad.